Town of Johnstown business loses building to fire

Remains of the Colonial Overhead Door location at 1272 Route 67 in Johnstown after a fire destroyed the business overnight, November 1, 2021.

By Andrew Waite

The Leader-Herald

TOWN OF JOHNSTOWN — A building belonging to Colonial Overhead Doors, a garage door supplier on Route 67 in town, is no longer standing after a fire early Sunday morning. 

The Sammonsville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched after a passerby reported the fire at about 2 a.m. on Sunday, according to Steven Santa Maria, director of Fulton County Emergency Management.  

Upon arriving, crews found fire in the back of the building, according to Santa Maria. Firefighters tried to battle the blaze from inside the business, but the conditions were too dangerous, he said. 

“Due to the rapid spread of the fire, and the truss construction of the interior, they were forced to move to the exterior,” Santa Maria said. “The building roof system was built utilizing wooden truss construction. Trusses have been known to fail quickly when fire impinges on them. Numerous firefighters have been injured and killed through the years due to the failure of lightweight wood construction.”

With fire ripping through the roof area, horizontal flames spread quickly, contributing to the decision to evacuate, according to Santa Maria. No one was injured in the blaze, he said, but the building is a total loss. An excavator was brought in to help crews reach deep-seated fires in collapsed sections of the building, Santa Maria said. The cause is being investigated by the Fulton County Fire Investigation Team and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control Fire Investigation Division, according to Santa Maria. 

A post on the Sammonsville Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page said the fire was particularly emotional. 

“Last night we had a fully involved structure fire at a commercial property and friends of our community,” the post reads. “This one hit home for many of our members and surrounding communities.” 

The Colonial Overhead Doors’ website says the company was established in 1989. Its Facebook page had 281 likes at the time of writing. On Monday, the company’s voicemail message said, “due to a catastrophic fire, the office is currently closed.” The company did not return a voicemail message left by The Leader-Herald on Monday. 

Twenty people commented on a post about the fire on the company’s Facebook page, sending messages of prayer and support. 

Firefighting assistance came from the Ephratah Volunteer Fire Department, the Sir William Johnson Volunteer Fire Company, the  Rockwood-Garoga-Lassellsville Volunteer Fire Company, as well as from the Meco Volunteer Fire Company and the Town of Mohawk Fire Department (Montgomery County), according to Santa Maria. 

Firefighters stayed on the scene until about 2 p.m. Sunday, according to Santa Maria. 

Also assisting were the Fulton County Fire Coordinators, the Fulton County EMS Coordinators, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps (GAVAC), Montgomery County Emergency Services, Montgomery County Fire Coordinators, the Ephratah Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, and the Sammonsville Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.

By LH Staff

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